Disney has announced an August 30th release for The Nightmare Before Christmas 3D. This 3-disc combo pack ($49.99 SRP) will supply the Tim Burton-produced, Henry Selick-directed 1993 stop motion cult classic on Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, and, sharing the final disc, DVD, and Digital Copy. Preorder it from Amazon.com.
June 2, 2011 - Our newest review looks at MGM's recent Limited Edition Blu-ray Book release of The Usual Suspects. This highly-regarded 1995 mystery won Oscars for Kevin Spacey (Supporting Actor) and Christopher McQuarrie (Original Screenplay) with its tale of a criminal alliance with consequences. Bryan Singer directed this film (his second), which also features Chazz Palminteri, Benicio Del Toro, Gabriel Byrne, and Kevin Pollak. This latest edition delivers fancy packaging but very few bonus features. Full review.
May 31, 2011 - The hard-R action film Drive Angry stars Nicolas Cage as a mysterious man looking to retrieve the infant daughter of his murdered daughter from Satanists. He teams up with tough waitress Piper (Amber Heard) and her 1969 Dodge Charger in pursuit of the leader (Twilight's Billy Burke) who intends to sacrifice the baby. Meanwhile, supposed FBI agent "The Accountant" (William Fichtner) is on the same trail. From the director and a writer of 2009's My Bloody Valentine, this underperforming Summit movie hits home video today in a DVD, a Blu-ray, and a Blu-ray 3D preserving the format this was shot for and exhibited in. Our review covers the Blu-ray, which includes deleted scenes, an audio commentary, and a picture-in-picture viewing mode adding up to three layers of insight over feature playback. Read on...
May 29, 2011 - The Firm, the blockbuster 1993 adaptation of John Grisham's first bestseller, is now available on Blu-ray exclusively at Best Buy. Read our review.
May 28, 2011 - Norm Macdonald, 1990s "Saturday Night Live" Weekend Update anchor and current host of "Sports Show with Norm Macdonald", gives us his first one-hour comedy TV special in Norm Macdonald: Me Doing Standup. Filmed in San Francisco in January and aired on Comedy Central in March, the show finds Norm joking about death, sex, Tiger Woods, alcoholism, and TV news. Releasing on June 14th, the extended and uncensored DVD includes "Back to Norm" (the 2005 pilot the network didn't turn into a series), Macdonald's set on the Roast of Bob Saget, and an animated short "The Twelve Days of Christmas" adapted from Macdonald's comedy album. Read our full review.
May 27, 2011 - The independent film Passion Play stars Mickey Rourke as a washed-up jazz trumpeter who escapes death and stumbles upon Lily Luster (Megan Fox), a winged sideshow act. He runs off with this angel and falls in love while using her as collateral to spare his life from angered gangster Happy Shannon (Bill Murray). This R-rated drama is written by Mitch Glazer (Scrooged, The Recruit), who makes his directorial debut. After a brief, limited theatrical run, Passion Play hits stores next week. Read our Blu-ray review and, for a chance to win the movie on DVD, "Like" and comment upon our Facebook post.
Our newest review subject, The Big Bang, combines gritty film noir with quantum physics. Antonio Banderas stars as a Los Angeles private eye hired by an ex-con boxer (Robert Maillet) to track down his stripper pen pal (Sienna Guillory) for him. The case takes Banderas and us on a journey to New Mexico desert, where a rich eccentric (Sam Elliott) is trying to answer life's mysteries in an underground lab. Most of the film is framed within the detective's interrogation by police (Delroy Lindo, William Fichtner, Thomas Kretschmann). With cameos by Snoop Dogg and James Van Der Beek and featuring more of Autumn Reeser than ever before, this unrated DVD includes a making-of featurette, an audio commentary, and two extended scenes. Full review.
May 26, 2011 - Disney has confirmed October 4th Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D debuts of The Lion King in a press release which schedules the new 1-disc DVD Edition for November 15th and announces a two-week 3D theatrical engagement beginning September 16th. Watch a trailer for the big screen return as part of the full announcement.
May 25, 2011 - Our first BBC review covers this week's DVD release of The Royal Wedding: William & Catherine. The feature presentation provides 127 minutes of the BBC's coverage of last month's widely-acknowledged ceremony including the arrival, departure, and Buckingham Palace balcony send-off. Alongside that is the 48-minute BBC documentary "William & Kate: A Royal Engagement" profiling the upbringings and ten shared years of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Our review includes a video clip of the sacred vows. Check it out.
Platoon, the 1986 Best Picture Oscar winner, celebrates its 25th anniversary with its Blu-ray debut in this week's Blu-ray + DVD combo pack from MGM and Fox. Written and directed by Oliver Stone from his own experiences as an infantry soldier, this Vietnam War drama follows Private Chris Taylor (Charlie Sheen) into unpredictable jungle action. Taylor and his fellow "grunts" brave hardship and each other while bearing witness to tension growing between two of their contrasting sergeants (Willem Dafoe and Tom Berenger). Also featuring some of the earliest film appearances by Johnny Depp, Forest Whitaker, John C. McGinley, and Kevin Dillon, Platoon is joined by two audio commentaries, over 10 minutes of deleted scenes, documentaries, featurettes, and its trailer and TV spots. Find out what is gained and what is lost, plus watch a clip from the movie in our thorough review.
May 24, 2011 - For a limited time, Amazon.com is offering $8 coupons off preorders of April's Bambi II and Prom Blu-ray + DVD combo packs. Don't miss out.
May 23, 2011 - The teen-oriented sci-fi flick I Am Number Four appeals to the Twilight audience with its tale of a hunky alien (Alex Pettyfer) attending a small town high school and finding romance (with "Glee"'s Dianna Agron), friendship (with Flipped's Callan McAuliffe), and antagony (from Percy Jackson's Jake Abel). Meanwhile, Number 4's race is being hunted by another menacing alien clan. Timothy Olyphant and Teresa Palmer co-star in this PG-13 adventure, this first DreamWorks movie distributed by Disney's Touchstone Pictures. It hits stores tomorrow and we've got a review of the Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy combo pack, which includes deleted scenes (including one featuring an otherwise cut Karen Allen), bloopers, and a featurette on Palmer's character Number 6. Our review includes a video clip of the movie and one of the Blu-ray-exclusive deleted scenes. Full article.
May 21, 2011 - Our final review of this week's new releases covers The Mechanic. Jason Statham and Ben Foster play master hitman and apprentice in this loose remake of a 1972 film starring Charles Bronson and Jan-Michael Vincent. Con Air's Simon West directs this violent action flick, which co-stars Donald Sutherland and Tony Goldwyn. CBS/Sony's DVD includes extended scenes and a making-of featurette. Read on.
May 20, 2011 - Our newest review looks at A Thousand Clowns, the penultimate 1960s Best Picture Oscar nominee to arrive on DVD. Jason Robards stars as Murray Burns, an out-of-work eccentric TV writer whose guardianship of his 12-year-old nephew (Barry Gordon) is called into question by child welfare workers. Barbara Harris (Freaky Friday), William Daniels ("Boy Meets World"), and an Oscar-winning Martin Balsam (Psycho) co-star in this 1965 comedy, adapted by Herb Gardner from his Tony-winning Broadway play, which he based on A Christmas Story writer/narrator Jean Shepherd. The film is now available through MGM's Limited Edition Collection, which we thoroughly review here.
Disney has announced an August 23rd Blu-ray debut for Bambi II. The 2006 sequel will be available as a 2-disc Blu-ray + DVD combo pack ($39.99 SRP, in Blu-ray and DVD packaging) with Friend Owl's "Fun Forest Games", the deleted song "Sing the Day", and the bonus features from its 2006 DVD. A new single-disc "DVD Edition" ($29.99 SRP) will be released the same day. From Disney Feature Animation, the 2009 half-hour CGI Christmas TV special Prep & Landing is coming exclusively to DVD ($19.99 SRP) on November 22nd. Extras will include stocking stuffer shorts Tiny's Big Adventure and Operation Secret Santa (featuring the voice of Betty White) and four Kringle Academy training videos. November 22nd is also expected to see the Blu-ray + DVD release of Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas and the DVD return of Beauty and the Beast: Belle's Magical World.
The Roommate stars Leighton Meester ("Gossip Girl") and Minka Kelly ("Friday Night Lights") as Los Angeles college freshmen assigned to the same room. They quickly become best friends, one less healthily than the other. Cam Gigandet, Aly Michalka, and Billy Zane co-star in this PG-13 Screen Gems thriller resembling Single White Female. Now available, The Roommate's Blu-ray includes a director's commentary, deleted and alternate scenes, and three exclusive making-of featurettes. Read our review.
May 19, 2011 - Our newest review looks at the fourth and latest way you can own The Terminator on Blu-ray. James Cameron's 1984 sci-fi classic follows the titular cyborg assassin (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and a human solider (Michael Biehn) from a post-apocalyptic 21st century to 1984 Los Angeles, where waitress and future mother Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) finds her life in danger. As on its other DVDs, the movie is joined by an early '90s Cameron and Schwarzenegger retrospective, a making-of featurette, and seven deleted scenes. Exclusive to this new Limited Edition is Blu-ray Book packaging, which includes essays and photos. Read our full, detailed review.
May 18, 2011 - Ten years in the making, Gnomeo & Juliet was conceived at Walt Disney Animation Studios with the makers of Beauty and the Beast. Instead, it was produced at Miramax Films and, after that was sold, distributed by Disney's Touchstone Pictures. This hit G-rated, computer-animated comedy puts a twist on William Shakespeare's tragedy, setting its tale of young love among rival clans in a world of English lawn gnomes. James McAvoy and Emily Blunt lead a large accomplished voice cast, whose dialogue is complimented by new and classic songs by Elton John and Bernie Taupin. Our detailed review covers the Blu-ray + DVD combo pack. Available next Tuesday, it provides 45 minutes of deleted scenes, 2 alternate endings, 2 voice actor shorts, a making-of featurette, and a music video for Nelly Furtado and John's new take on "Crocodile Rock." Full review...
May 15, 2011 - The Firm, the 1993 adaptation of John Grisham's first bestseller, comes to Blu-ray this month exclusively at Best Buy and we've got an early review. Tom Cruise stars as Mitch McDeere, a Harvard Law School graduate who joins the small memphis firm where all is not as idyllic as it seems. Directed by Sydney Pollack, this blockbuster thriller also features Gene Hackman, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Ed Harris, Hal Holbrook, Wilford Brimley, David Strathairn, Gary Busey, and an Oscar-nominated Holly Hunter. Paramount's disc offers a 5.1 Dolby TrueHD soundtrack, two original trailers, and a slipcover. Read on...
May 14, 2011 - The thriller The Rite tells the story of an American seminarian (Colin O'Donoghue) who travels to Rome to study exorcism in a class and first-hand with a legendary Welsh priest (Anthony Hopkins). From the writer of the latest Chronicles of Narnia movie and the director of 1408, The Rite opened #1 at the box office earlier this year. We review Warner's Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy combo pack, which is released on Tuesday, with a video clip from the movie. Full review.
May 12, 2011 - The Disney Channel musical Lemonade Mouth tells the story of five high school students who meet in detention and form a band. Music becomes their form of expression, as they deal with domestic issues and their classmates. Based on Mark Peter Hughes' young adult novel, directed by Under the Same Moon's Patricia Riggen and starring Bridgit Mendler ("Good Luck Charlie"), Adam Hicks ("Zeke and Luther"), and Christopher McDonald, this movie comes to DVD on May 24th in an Extended Edition featuring an exclusive ending with a performance of a tenth original song, Rock-Along lyric subtitles, and a digital copy. Our review includes video clips of a song and a scene from the movie.
May 4, 2011 - We've just posted Fox and Lucasfilm's official announcement for Star Wars on Blu-ray. George Lucas' space opera series will make its worldwide format debut in September, with 3-disc sets given to the beloved original trilogy and the turn-of-the-millennium prequel trilogy. For real fans, though, there is The Complete Saga, a 9-disc collection loaded with bonus material old and new. Among the latter are a feature-length documentary on costume enthusiasts, a 30th anniversary reflection on The Empire Strikes Back, and 90 minutes of Star Wars spoofs (from "Family Guy" to Weird Al's music video). See the press release for cover artwork and details and place your preorders at Amazon.com.
May 3, 2011 - Plan out your summer spending with our newly-overhauled Upcoming Schedule pages, which supply a week by week look at what is coming to DVD and Blu-ray in May, June, and July & Beyond.
Recent DVD and Blu-ray Reviews:
• Justin Bieber: Never Say Never - Part biography, part concert film, this record-setting, G-rated documentary charts the Ontario teen's rise to international pop stardom with home movies, performances from last summer's sold-out Madison Square Garden My World Tour stop, and backstage and behind-the-scenes footage. Take your Bieber Fever to our review, where you can watch a clip of childhood home movies and read all about what you do and do not get in this first edition.
• Blue Valentine - Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams play a married couple, whose blissful past is contrasted with their unhappy present. Directed by Derek Cianfrance, this romantic drama earned some of last year's best reviews, Williams an Oscar nomination, and a subsequently-overturned NC-17 rating. Anchor Bay's DVD includes an audio commentary, making-of featurette, 20 minutes of deleted scenes, and an in-character home movie.
• No Strings Attached - Recent Oscar winner Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher play friends who choose to keep their relationship physical in this R-rated romantic comedy directed by Ghostbusters' Ivan Reitman and co-starring Kevin Kline, Lake Bell, Greta Gerwig, Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, Jake Johnson, Mindy Kaling, Olivia Thirlby, and Cary Elwes. Paramount's DVD includes a Reitman audio commentary, deleted scenes and storylines, a thorough making-of featurette, and a behind-the-scenes look at the High School Musical-type TV series which features within.
• "Growing Pains" - Five years after this highly-rated 1980s ABC sitcom's DVD debut, Warner brings us the sophomore season. In Season 2, nerdy Carol (Tracey Gold) gets a jock boyfriend, young Ben (Jeremy Miller) makes inappropriate phone calls, and mischievous Mike (Kirk Cameron) gets a job, says no to cocaine, and charms nearly every girl he encounters. Through it all, psychiatrist Jason (Alan Thicke) and journalist Maggie (Joanna Kerns) are there to keep the kids in line.
• The Murder of Mary Phagan - This 1988 Emmy winner for Outstanding Miniseries tells the true story of a young factory worker in 1913 Atlanta whose boss (Peter Gallagher) is charged with her ghastly homicide, only to have his fate contested. Also starring Jack Lemmon, Robert Prosky, Richard Jordan, Paul Dooley, and a young Kevin Spacey, this 3½-hour NBC program is now available as a 2-disc set in MGM's Limited Edition Collection.
• The Green Hornet (Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD Combo Pack) - The superhero of 1930s radio, 1940s film serials, and 1960s television gets feature film treatment. Seth Rogen stars as Britt Reid, a carefree young man who becomes a vigilante following his father's sudden death. Teaming with highly capable mechanic Kato (Taiwanese pop star Jay Chou), Reid becomes the Green Hornet, who looks to rid Los Angeles of a powerful kingpin (Inglourious Basterds Oscar winner Christoph Waltz). Cameron Diaz and Tom Wilkinson co-star in this PG-13 action comedy, directed by Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind's Michel Gondry and written by Rogen and his Pineapple Express collaborator Evan Goldberg. Sony's 3-disc set includes a lively filmmakers audio commentary, a half-hour of deleted scenes, a gag reel, over an hour of making-of featurettes, exclusive 3D storyboard comparisons, and a couple of Easter eggs.
• "The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes! Volume 2 - Captain America Reborn! - Holding Episodes #8 through 13 of Marvel's Disney XD series, the disc unfreezes Captain America, who joins Iron Man, Thor, Wasp, and Ant-Man, shortly after The Hulk takes off. Also featuring here: Black Panther's quest to protect vibranium, Tony Stark's defeated business rival becomes Wonder Man, and a 2-parter explores the monstrous effects of gamma radiation. The DVD includes a 6-minute preview of Season 2 with the creators.
• Cohen & Tate - Roy Scheider (Jaws) and Adam Baldwin ("Chuck") play killers charged with making a 355-mile night drive to Houston with an abducted 9-year-old boy (Harley Cross) in this 1989 action thriller written and directed by The Hitcher's Eric Red.
• Billy Two Hats - This 1974 Western stars an older Gregory Peck and a young adult Desi Arnaz Jr. as partners in crime on the lam. Peck is Scottish outlaw Archie Deans and Arnaz is the titular "half-breed." Produced by Norman Jewison, directed by First Blood's Ted Kotcheff, and co-starring Jack Warden and David Huddleston, this PG-rated film recently made its DVD debut in MGM's made-to-order Limited Edition Collection.
• Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: The Criterion Collection Blu-ray - Johnny Depp plays Raoul Duke and Benicio Del Toro is his lawyer Dr. Gonzo on this drug-fueled road trip adapted from Hunter S. Thompson's iconic semi-autobiographical novel. Criterion's loaded disc includes three audio commentaries, deleted scenes, a 1978 BBC documentary on Thompson, a book reading from Oscar Zeta Acosta (the real Dr. Gonzo), art galleries, trailer and TV spots, storyboards, audio clips, and more.
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